This Day In History – August 25


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History never looks like history when you are living through it. ~John W. Gardner


First Council of Nicaea

August 25, 325 – Ancient Christian History

Council of Nicaea concludes

The Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical debate held by the early Christian church, concludes with the establishment of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I in May, the council also deemed the Arian belief of Christ as inferior to God as heretical, thus resolving an early church crisis.

The controversy began when Arius, an Alexandrian priest, questioned the full divinity of Christ because, unlike God, Christ was born and had a beginning. What began as an academic theological debate spread to Christian congregations throughout the empire, threatening a schism in the early Christian church. Roman Emperor Constantine I, who converted to Christianity in 312, called bishops from all over his empire to resolve the crisis and urged the adoption of a new creed that would resolve the ambiguities between Christ and God.

Meeting at Nicaea in present-day Turkey, the council established the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the Holy Trinity and asserted that only the Son became incarnate as Jesus Christ. The Arian leaders were subsequently banished from their churches for heresy. The Emperor Constantine presided over the opening of the council and contributed to the discussion.

Source This Day In History

Further reading:
First Council of Nicaea

Council of Nicaea


David Hume

August 25, 1776 – American Revolution

Scottish philosopher, historian, economist David Hume dies

Influential political philosopher David Hume dies in Edinburgh, Scotland, on this day in 1776.

Although Hume died when the American Revolution was barely underway, his essay “Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth” greatly affected the ideas of the drafters of the federal Constitution in 1787. Most famously, James Madison contemplated Hume’s proposals for an ideal government and, more precisely, Hume’s thoughts regarding the prevention of faction as he constructed his argument in favor of the Constitution in “Federalist X.”

In establishing a government for the new nation, Madison was particularly concerned with avoiding a tyranny of the majority, defined as the largest faction in a republic pursuing its interests while ignoring or suppressing the interests and voices of all opposition. Hume, as well as most political theorists of the 18th century, believed that the only way to control faction, or what today would be called special interests, was to created small republics, where the common interest of all would be self-evident. Therefore, no majority block could take control at the expense of a significant minority.


Further reading:
David Hume
David Hume – The Complete Works

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy.


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Maj. Gen. Henry Heth

August 25, 1864 – American Civil War

Rebels attack at the Second Battle of Ream’s Station

With Union forces threatening to choke off the critical Petersburg & Weldon railroad link, Robert E. Lee was eager to push the Federals back from this key supply line. Discovering Hancock’s II Corps near Reams Station, Lee sent AP Hill and Wade Hampton to attack the isolated Federal forces. “Do all in your power to punish the enemy” Lee told Hill before he marched out of the lines around Petersburg.

At Reams Station, Hill prepared to assault the Union forces in their entrenchments on August 25, 1864. Hill was in so much pain this day that he ended up lying on the ground in front of the Union entrenchments. Handing over tactical command to Brig. Gen. Wilcox, he watched the first two assaults fail to take the Union position to his front. His third assault, directed by Heth, and supported by Pegram’s artillery, crashed into the fragile Union positions, precipitating a full rout of the once proud II Corps of the Union army. 2,150 Union soldiers and 9 artillery piece would surrender to Hill’s forces this day.


The Battle of Ream's Station


Bill Doolin

August 25, 1896 – Old West

Famous outlaw Bill Doolin founder of the Wild Bunch meets end of the trail

The American West produced yet another famous outlaw in the shape of Bill Doolin, a former member of the notorious Dal ton brothers’ band of bank and train robbers. This gang comprised Robert (Bob), Gratton (Grat), William (Bill) and Emmett Dalton, supported by Bill Doolin and several others. The Daltons’ older cousins were the Younger brothers. Lewis Dalton, father of the Dalton boys, was a saloon-keeper; after he abandoned his wife Adeline (nee Younger), she bravely brought up their fifteen children on her own. The four Dalton boys who became outlaws first worked as cowboys. Another elder brother, Frank, became a federal deputy marshal but was slain by whiskey runners in 1887. After his death, Grat, Bob and Emmett Dalton became lawmen themselves for a short time but drifted into horse-thieving. As a

result, they were forced to leave their law jobs and started to rob stage-coaches, banks and trains. Their other brother Bill then joined them, as did Bill Doolin.


Further reading:
Bill Doolin

Train Robbery Re-enactment


The ruins of the library of the Catholic University of Leuven after it was burned in 1914.

August 25, 1914 – World War I

Germans burn Belgian town of Louvain

Over the course of five days, beginning August 25, 1914, German troops stationed in the Belgian village of Louvain during the opening month of World War I burn and loot much of the town, executing hundreds of civilians.

Located between Liege, the fortress town that saw heavy fighting during the first weeks of the German invasion, and the Belgian capital of Brussels, Louvain became the symbol, in the eyes of international public opinion, of the shockingly brutal nature of the German war machine. From the first days they crossed into Belgium, violating that small country’s neutrality on the way to invade France, German forces looted and destroyed much of the countryside and villages in their path, killing significant numbers of civilians, including women and children. These brutal actions, the Germans claimed, were in response to what they saw as an illegal civilian resistance to the German occupation, organized and promoted by the Belgian government and other community leaders—especially the Catholic Church—and carried out by irregular combatants or franc-tireurs (snipers, or free shooters) of the type that had participated in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-71.


Further reading:
The Burning of Louvain
The Rape of Belgium
The medieval Belgian town of Louvain was destroyed by occupying German troops that ignored Belgian neutrality and brutalized the inhabitants.

Leuven, verwoest door de Duitsers in 1914 Reportage


German POWs are led through the streets of Paris. Below: General De Gaulle leads Paris in a Victory Parade. August 25, 1944.

August 25, 1944 – World War II

Liberation of Paris

On this day in 1944, French General Jacques Leclerc enters the free French capital triumphantly. Pockets of German intransigence remained, but Paris was free from German control.

Two days earlier, a French armored division had begun advancing on the capital. Members of the Resistance, now called the French Forces of the Interior, proceeded to free all French civilian prisoners in Paris. The Germans were still counterattacking, setting fire to the Grand Palais, which had been taken over by the Resistance, and killing small groups of Resistance fighters as they encountered them in the city. On August 24, another French armored division entered Paris from the south, receiving an effusion of gratitude from French civilians who poured into the streets to greet their heroes—but still, the Germans continued to fire on French fighters from behind barricades, often catching civilians in the crossfire.


Further reading:
Liberation of Paris – Wikipedia


173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team shoulder sleeve insignia

August 25, 1971 – Vietnam War

173rd Airborne Brigade departs Vietnam

U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade, among the first U.S. ground units sent to Vietnam, ceases combat operations and prepares to redeploy to the United States as part of Nixon’s troop withdrawal plan.

As the redeployment commenced, the communists launched a new offensive to disrupt the upcoming General Assembly elections in South Vietnam. The height of the new offensive occurred from August 28 to August 30, when the Communists executed 96 attacks in the northern part of South Vietnam. U.S. bases also came under attack at Lai Khe, Cam Ranh Bay, and other areas. Nixon’s troop reduction plans were supposedly tied to the level of enemy activity on the battlefield, but once they began, very little attention was paid to what the enemy was doing and the withdrawals continued unabated.

Source This Day In History

Further reading:
History of the 173rd
Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne
173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

U.S. troops in combat on Hill 875 Vietnam


The pull, the attraction of history, is in our human nature. What makes us tick? Why do we do what we do? How much is luck the deciding factor? –David McCullough


America remember and honor your history – it will give direction,
purpose and security to your future.


Plow & Hearth


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